Sunday, October 18, 2009
New Jersey Governor's Race - Off the Scales The Republican candidate for governor in New Jersey is a big guy. Some might even say he's, well, chunky. His opponent is alleging that he "throws his weight around." Subtle. In the never ending quest to push the envelope on political advertising, Chris Christie's waist size (girth, fat, fitness) has become an issue in his race against incumbent Democrat John Corzine, a 62 year old jogger. The race, in a state with real problems, has become so nasty that the unfavorable poll numbers of both of the major candidates have sunk into the toilet. You wonder how either of these guys can win. The Associated Press has referred to Christie's "Henry VIII-like girth" and noted that one of Corzine's recent ads seemed to delight in featuring a "a clip of a rotund Christie, his extra pounds rolling beneath his shirt, lumbering out of the back seat of an SUV." For his part, Corzine, saddled with an awful economy and some of the highest property taxes in the nation, seems just fine with changing the subject to his opponent's need for Sansabelt slacks. When asked by a reporter if he agreed that the opponent was fat, the governor touched his head and asked, "am I bald?" He is. Nasty stuff? Probably. Effective? We'll know next month. Does every New Jersey voter know that candidate Christie is also a candidate for a seat belt extender? Of course. Given the 30 second nature of politics, and the power of a picture, it is a safe bet that the image many voters will take to the ballot box on election day is that Christie is chunky and Corzine is a chrome dome. The late 19th Century political humorist Finley Peter Dunne is credited with saying, "politics ain't beanbag." He was right it is tough, nasty, unfair and always has been. After this race, politics might be feedbag. My favorite political analyst has a theory that most elections come down to a decision about which candidate an individual voter will feel most comfortable seeing night after night on the tube. In this race, you got your choice - fatso or the bald guy. TMI: Nate Silver took a look at all the nation's governors on the skinny to not so scale, for example - Otter (ID) "skinny", Schweitzer (MT) "full bodied", Gregorie (WA) "attenuated." Find all his rankings under the headline: "Honey, Does This Governor Make Me Look Fat?" Gotta love politics.